Different Faces of Pepe

JOSE RIZAL, the national hero of the Philippines and pride of the Malayan race, was born on June 19, 1861, in the town of Calamba, Laguna. He was the seventh child in a family of 11 children. Both his parents were educated and belonged to distinguished families. His love for his country, and his observations of Spanish rule impassioned him to speak out about injustice. He was a peaceful man and used the power of the pen to express himself. It would eventually lead to his imprisonment and his execution on December 30, 1896. Aside from the information we get from books, what other things do we know about our national hero? Here we try to discover the different facets of Jose Rizal; his life, love and works.

The Oldest Churches in the Philippines

The Philippines is considered to be the only catholic country is Asia primarily because of the influence by the Catholic faith brought about by the Spanish discovery and occupation of the country. The numerous basilicas and cathedrals scattered along the region reflects the strong catholic influence among Filipinos.

Here are some of the Old Catholic churches in the country you may want to visit:

San Agustin Church of Manila - located inside the historic walled city of IntramurosManila. The church was completed by 1607 and it is the oldest church still standing in the Philippines. The San Agustin Church was one of the four Philippine churches constructed during the Spanish colonial period to be designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO , under the classification "Baroque Churches of the Philippines". It had been named a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1976.

Metro Manila Film Festival 2011

    The 37th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) is the annual film festival in Manila that will be held from December 25, 2011 until the first week of January 2012. During the festival, no foreign films are shown in Philippine theaters in order to showcase locally produced films. Since its Christmas time and we have more to spare, why not patronize our own locally produced movies. So if you are thinking of what film to watch, here are the official entries for the Metro Manila Film Festival:

Pampanga's Best (Giant Lantern Festival)

     The Giant Lantern Festival (Ligligan Parul) in San Fernando Pampanga is an annual festival held every December (Saturday before Christmas Eve) showcasing the city’s most famous product – Parol. Every year, different barangays compete for the most elaborate giant lantern. Because of the popularity of the festival, the city has been called the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines”

Food for the Noche Buena Table

     Noche Buena which literally means “Good Night” refers to the night of Christmas Eve. This is a very special event for Filipinos because this is the time where family and friends come together for a very special and sumptuous Christmas dinner. This usually comes after the entire family has attended the late evening Christmas Eve mass or Misa de Gallo. So if you are still thinking of what to prepare for Noche Buena, here are some of the country's well-loved food items that usually find their way to the tables of Filipino families.

My Top 5 Filipino Christmas Songs


Star ng Pasko is the title of ABS-CBN’s Christmas Station ID featuring their brightest stars hailing the real Star of the season “Bro”. The inspirational song “Star ng Pasko”, as sung by Kapamilya Singers, is written by ABS-CBN Creative Communication Management Head, Robert Labayen with music composed by Marcus and Amber Davis.

Simbang Gabi: A Filipino Christmas Tradition

     Simbang Gabi is a nine-day Roman Catholic ritual novena performed in the Philippines which starts from December 16 and ends on December 24. Simbang Gabi, which translates to Evening Mass is usually performed as early as 4 or 5 in the morning. The last day of the Simbang Gabi, which is Christmas Eve, is called Misa de Gallo, which literally means "Rooster's Mass"

Gift Ideas this Christmas Season

     Christmas in the Philippines is one of the biggest holidays in the country. It has earned the distinction as the world’s longest celebration of the Christmas Season starting as early September and lasting up until the Epiphany in January. Christmas season is a time for family, a time for friends, a time for thanksgiving, a time for sharing and everyone's favorite, a time for gifts. In spite of knowing that you want to give a gift, sometimes figuring out what you should give is difficult. If you are in a dilemma, here are some of the most popular Christmas gifts that will inspire you to choose the right one for your loved one.

Popular Tiangges in the Metro

     A tiangge is a Filipino version of flea market where price-conscious shoppers are attracted to get cheap and good buys. Since Christmas is fast approaching, here are the hottest bargain spots in Metro Manila for your shopping spree.

1. Divisoria
     It is a market district in the heart of the City of Manila known for its wide assortment of low-priced goods and wholesale and bargain shopping. Clothes, accessories, toys, decorations, pirated films and music, electronics, fruits, dry goods, school, office and household supplies, fabrics, textiles, crafts, novelties, decorations and “everything under the sun” can be found in Divisoria, making it “the mecca of value shopping” and “the mother of all markets in Manila.” It is considered one of the National Capital Region's premiere economic centers, as street shops, tiangge-style bazaars and shopping malls (Tutuban Center Mall, 168 Shopping Center, Divisoria Mall, Tabora) are all found here

Mary the Immaculate

     The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin.
     The proclaimed Roman Catholic dogma states "that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin".Being always free from original sin, she was from the start filled with the sanctifying grace that would normally come with baptism after birth.